Community activist Aurora Castillo was a renowned champion for environmental justice. The feisty octogenarian believed all children deserved to breathe clean air, drink pure water, and grow up in a safe environment. Castillo founded the community organization, The Mothers of East Los Angeles (MELA). The group worked to keep their neighbors safe from dangerous pollutants and environmental toxins.
Castillo earned the name, la dona, because of her extraordinary leadership. The international community also recognized Castillo's tireless efforts to protect her Californian neighborhood. In 1995, she won the Goldman Environmental Prize. The award is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for environmental activists. The organization gives the award to ordinary individuals working to protect the environment.